Optus beats Vodafone to Wi-Fi calling with Wi-Fi Talk

Phone calls and texts made over Wi-Fi, without doing anything differently

Network blackholes spoiling phone calls and texts are being patched using Wi-Fi following the release of Optus’ Wi-Fi Talk application.

Using an existing Wi-Fi network helps improve the quality of Optus' services, said Amanda Hutton, the vice president of customer experience at Optus.

“WiFi Talk is an innovative solution to help customers stay connected easily if mobile coverage is limited indoors, whether at home, in the office, or even in places such as shopping centres.“

Wi-Fi calling is not a brand new technology. Apple unveiled a similar technology when it launched its iPhone 6, only Australian carriers did not lend the feature support.

“The app uses your existing Optus mobile number when people call or text you, and they don’t need the app or have to do anything differently,” said Hutton.

Optus has designed the application to be economical. The company estimates 300-kilobytes of data is used per minute when receiving a phone call. Only 80-kilobytes of data is used per hour when the application is in idle.

There is no difference in how calls and texts are charged, with usage being deducted from a plan’s inclusions or charged at standard rates.

Optus is the first carrier in Australia to support the technology; however, rival Vodafone previously confirmed to Good Gear Guide it is working on Wi-Fi calling without the need for an application, while Telstra was investigating the merits of the technology.

Vodafone and Optus customers stand to benefit most from Wi-Fi Calling. Telstra has the greatest coverage with 99.3 per cent of the Australian population, while Optus and Vodafone service 98.5 and 96 per cent respectively.

Update: Vodafone has issued the following statement to Good Gear Guide

We value a quality customer experience and while we are working to deliver native Voice Over WiFi in the future, we want to ensure it is the best possible product.

Our current focus is on VoLTE which will mean shorter call connection times and the ability to continue using 4G for browsing while having a voice conversation on the same smartphone

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